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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Women’s Golf Named Midwest Conference Champions

Last weekend, the women’s golf team gave Grinnell reason to enjoy some “GC Pride” by winning the Midwest Conference Championship for the first time in the 19-year history of the program.

Photograph by Andrew Kelley. Hailey Speck ’15 takes a shot from the fairway on Sept. 28.

The championship lasted three days, with the women improving their standing each day. The Pioneers concluded Friday in third place, Saturday in second and finally reached first place on Sunday with a final score of 1,093. Their score was nine shots better than second place finisher Illinois College, who led the first two days of the tournament.

The tournament took place in Rockford, Ill. at the Aldeen Golf Club, a very different venue from other years. Aldeen’s Golf Club contains more hazards than other courses, which significantly challenged each team. That, coupled with the weekend’s intense thunderstorms, made for a challenging, yet rewarding tournament.

“This year there was water on 12 of the 18 holes, which is entirely different from the previous course. It wasn’t an obstacle we really had to consider in the past, and in this course you had to be particular about where you were placing the ball on every single shot because it all made a huge difference,” said Hailey Speck ’15.

Another setback the team faced this semester is their small size. Typically, six players per team are sent to conference, but the entire Grinnell women’s golf squad is comprised of only five individuals. While this put more pressure on each individual player—as each team is only counts there top four golfers—it was also a positive aspect to the team in some regards.

“The fact that we have been required to go to almost every tournament has definitely helped with team bonding and team unity because we spend so much time together,” said Kayleigh Kresse ’15.

“We only had four players who were truly competitive this year and each of them knew that if only one of them had a poor tournament, we could not win. That’s a lot of pressure and they [all] performed incredibly well,” said Coach David Arseneault.

The women’s golf team left Rockford with more than just one award, however. Coach Arseneault also took home Coach of the Year. The award is assigned through the votes of other coaches.

“It’s always nice to be recognized by your peers,” Arseneault said.

The Grinnell College women’s team is now qualified for Nationals next spring. However, with two students being abroad next semester—Speck and Kresse—and the team already being smaller than average, the status of Grinnell’s appearance at Nationals is unknown until the end of the month. In the meantime, Kresse and Speck are each in the process of asking their respective study abroad programs for early leave to perform at Nationals.

“As a team we have gone through a lot together and both of us feel like it’s an honor to have made it this far and would really enjoy it if we could go with our teams to Nationals and represent our teams there,” Speck said.

If all goes well, the women’s golf team should be showcasing their chemistry and perseverance at Nationals in May 2014.

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